NEW YORK – The seasonally adjusted Milwaukee Report on Business climbed to 52.87 in March from a downwardly revised 51.78 in March, originally reported as 52.78, according to the Institute for Supply Management-Milwaukee.

New orders received rose to 55.09 from 46.78, production dropped to 48.64 from 51.87, employment grew to 61.39 from 59.20, supplier deliveries slid to 49.21 from 54.89, and backlog of orders grew to 47.92 from 41.30.

Inventory levels climbed to 50.00 from 46.15, customers’ inventories dipped to 39.58 from 40.91, prices sank to 63.46 from 80.77, exports decreased to 58.82 from 62.50 and imports increased to 61.11 from 58.82.

The blue collar diffusion index decreased to 51.6 from 57.3, while the white collar diffusion index fell to 51.6 from 59.2.

Respondents’ comments included:

--Biggest issue currently is capacity. We are running 24/6 and in many departments 7 days. Additional equipment on order but months away from helping.

--Most commodities readily available with stable pricing.

--Economic uncertainty creating "spiky" ordering and production.  Prices have varied accordingly with the spurts of hoped for growth.

--Automotive demand is stronger than forecasts, generating increased expediting and air freight expense for imported fasteners.

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